Without Gore, Miami offense cant do what they do best and that is run out of the I. With Jarrett Payton they have a back that has nice size but no speed and quickness. Not a good combination against one of the best run defenses in the country. Jason Geathers moves back to running back but how effective can he be. Geathers is a super talented kid but to ask him to pick up another position a week before the big game may be asking to much.
Yes he has played running back before but he was not very effective. The one key match up to watch this weekend will be Darnell Dockett against UM Center Joel RodrigueZ. The UM center may need help. If UM double teams Dockett than Womble, Bunkley or TJ have a big day. Miami has really struggled to open holes and I dont think that will change this weekend.
Miami (Passing Offense) vs FSU (Pass Defense
With no Gore Miami will have to pass the ball all game long. Even though Berlin strength is to play from the gun its not what Miami offense is all about. In a little over a week Miami has to now overhaul their entire offense. This can not be a good thing. A nice match up will be Ryan Moore vs Bryant McFadden. McFadden has the size and speed to give Moore all he can handle.
Boulware vs Winslow will be another big matchup. Winslow has the edge here. If Miami does go to the spread it wont be a surprise to the FSU defense. They have seen this offense before and practice against it every day. Berlin is the key. If he gets pressured I dont think he has a good game. He has to throw for over 300 yards in this game for UM to have a chance. With Watkins, McFadden, Smith, Ward and Cro 2 FSU pass defense has improved drastically this year. I think UM will find that out early on saturday.
FSU (Rush Offense) vs (Miami Rush Defense)
Miami comes into this game really struggling to stop the run. They did stop BC but thats because the Eagles offense was one dimensional. When FSU spreads the field they will have a major edge against UM defense. Jones, Washington, Booker and Reid against Miami linebackers is not a good match for um defense. The noles will spread the field and run the draw. This play just killed UM last week against WV. Watch for Rix to have a big day running the draw as well.
If FSU offensive line can come through, I can see them running for close to 200 yards in this game. The Canes defensive line though talented is lacking in depth. Wilfork has had to play most of the snaps at DT for the canes. Orrien Harris has had him moments but has disappeared at times as well. When they come off the field there is a big drop off in talent. If Baratka Atkins and Bryan Pata are unable to go than UM rush defense will struggle even more. Thomas Carroll and John Square are not very good against the run.
FSU (Pass Offense) vs Miami (Pass Defense
The Canes have a very good secondary but with out a pass rush they are not nearly as effective. MO Sikes may not play this weekend because of a sprain MCL. He is still on crutches. The key is how well FSU offensive line holds up. If they play like they did against Duke than the noles could have problems. If they give him time like WV offensive line gave their quarterback last week than the noles will be able to pass the ball down the field.
Cro Thorpe, PK Sam, Chris Davis and DROB could make waves in this game. The loss of Mo Sikes forces Brandon Merriwhather to play. Merriwhether is a nice looking player but he is not ready to play college ball yet.
With John Peattite the canes have a field goal kicker that is very accurate. He made a pressure kick last week against WV or UM comes into the FSU came with one loss. On the other side you have the X-Man. He has started to come around on his miss FG in last years Miami game. I still have to question if he has it in him to kick a game winning fg against the canes. With Parrish returning punts Miami is always a threat to take one to the house. FSU punt return game is not that great. On Kickoffs CRO 2 and Cro 1 should be able to give FSU good field position. They are both two of the best returnman in the game. The punters for both teams are solid.
Larry Coker comes into this game with a team that has not lost during the regular season in over two years. He knows how to get his teams up for the big games. Bobby is Bobby. If not for UM he would have had a couple more MNC. Will he have his team play aggressive like last year or is FSU going to play not to lose. That is the one flaw BB has had against the canes. Coach Steele could be the difference this weekend. If he gets his defense to step it up they may dominate Miami offense.
When you place two teams that play each other in a rivalry game every year anything can happen. Last year no one gave the Noles a chance to win. They ended up outplaying UM for three quarters before the canes came back and won. Coming off three losses the noles head into this game as the favorite this year. Some may think the noles may be overconfident. They wont be. With UM riding a three game winning streak against FSU the noles will be ready to go. Right now UM comes into this game the same way FSU went into the 2001 football game. They are lacking depth at key positions, just lost their key offensive player in Frank Gore, their offensive line has not plaed with any consistency all year long and their defense still cant stop the run. So what will happen. The game will come down to the two quarterbacks. The past two years Chirs Rix was the ? mark. This year Brock Berlin has that hanging over his head. Rix has shown the ability to lead a team this year and has played very well.
Other than two and half quarters against Tech, Rix has been money all year long. Berlin on the other hand has struggled with the lack of consistency. Berlin will face the best defense he has gone against this year. If he plays like he has all year long watch out this could get ugly. I feel he will continue to struggle and Miami goes down for the first time to FSU in four years.
FSU 31- Miami 13